Planning Inspector dismisses appeal to build homes at 19th Century listed building

Wednesday 16 March 2022: A planning inspector has thrown out an appeal contesting Hillingdon Council's decision to refuse planning and listed building applications that would have had 'unacceptable impact' on a historic Grade II listed building in Eastcote.

Highgrove House in Ruislip
Developers Westcombe Estates Ltd applied in April 2021 for planning permission to build a three-bedroom home at Highgrove House, on Lidgould Grove. The applications were refused by Hillingdon Council's planning committee in November 2021, but the developers subsequently appealed.

Last week (7 March), a planning inspector dismissed both appeals, citing that the harm caused by the development would outweigh any gains to the local economy or housing supply.

That sentiment was echoed by many in the local community, with the original applications having received 21 letters of objection and two petitions with more than 150 signatures. One of the petitions stated the plans would 'have a significantly negative impact on the beauty and characteristics of Highgrove House'.

Strong objections were also lodged by Eastcote Conservation Panel, Eastcote Residents' Association, Ruislip Residents' Association & The Ruislip, Northwood and Eastcote Local History Society.

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, Housing and Regeneration, said: "We're delighted with this result that upholds the council's position - that these proposals would cause undue harm to one of the borough's heritage assets.

"In our modern, rapidly-growing world it's increasingly important that this council acts to preserve the borough's history for current and future generations. Buildings such as Highgrove House play a vital role in reminding us of and connecting us to, the borough's past.

"We're duty bound to act in protecting such buildings, and in this case, also safe-guarding the residents and wildlife surrounding the site."

Highgrove House was constructed in 1881 by Edward Prior and although internally the building has undergone extensive changes, its exterior remains of high historic and architectural value, with gauged brick window arches, pitched hipped swept tiled roof, gabled dormers, modillion eaves cornices and striking chimney stacks.

The inspector's report cites these features as key to the appeal decision as part of 'a grand house set within spacious grounds'. Particularly as the proximity of one of the proposed homes would encroach on Highgrove House, eroding the spacious nature of the site and in turn the building's visual grandeur.

The planning inspector also took into consideration the 'oppressive' effect the build would have on neighbouring properties and also the potential danger to any protected wildlife species due to the site lying partly within the Highgrove Woods Site of Importance to Nature Conservation (SINC).

Page last updated: 15 Feb 2024